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tv   [untitled]    April 26, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

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available to those who need it, that this is a share common core value that we all support, and so i'm not going to be ophiring in committee but i will offer on the floor and i hope that my colleagues who obviously care deeply about this issue will consider it as a statement of those shared common bipartisan values. >> thank you very much. we will proceed back to the leahy amendment number 5, and i would ask unanimous consent it be modified with the roberts number 2 amendment, and i believe you have that now, the leahy amendment, and senator roberts modifications, senator roberts and i are supporting this amendment that would give a little bit more flexibility for people to be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables by participating in community supported agriculture. so is there any discussion about senator leahy's amendment?
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if not, all those in favor say aye. those opposed, nay. the amendment is adopted. thank you very much. do we have any other amendment to this title? >> madam chairwoman. >> senator gillibrand. >> we've been working with senator chambliss' staff and the secretary's staff and have language that appears to satisfy the members concerns. i can have this copied and circulate fundamental you would like and we can come back to it. >> can do you that quickly or the other option, read it, is it simple? we could read it to the committee? if no one needs to go further than that, at this point we would have an understanding. >> section 10. the secretary considers the purchases of commodities by the ccc or under second 32 in addition to other appropriate considerations the secretary may consider the needs of the states and the demands placed on emergency feeding organizations.
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and that meets the needs of -- >> any discussion on modification? if not -- senator johanns, would you like to -- >> was that on nutrition? i was -- >> this is on tfap. >> nutrition amendment and it would be, i would just ask that we accept by unanimous consent the modification to the kc amendment number 5. and thank you for working together to work this out. so we have the modification. is there any objection? if not we'll just accept the amendment. senator johanns? >> i think they're still talking about that issue, if i'm not mistaken. >> i think senator chambliss' office and the usda, the senator and your staff just agreed to this language. >> no, i don't think so. no. i think they're still working on it. >> okay. we'll delay. >> put it aside and come back to it. thank you very much.
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now, other than the, if there are no further amendments, we will hold the title open for the one amendment that is being worked on, if that can be worked out, and we will proceed to title 11, crop insurance. and let me just say at the beginning, we have every hearing, every meeting we've had with farmers we have heard loudly and clearly crop insurance is the most important tool for risk management, and very proud of the fact that this bill strengthens and improves coverage for all commodities, underserved crops like fruits and vegetables as well without making budget cuts to crop insurance title i want to thank my partner, senator roberts, for his ongoing leadership and advocacy for this area. and senator roberts did you want to say a few words as well? because we're -- i think presenting something that we've all worked on that is, receiving input from members, i think that is really a benefit and
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improvement to farmers across the country. >> madam chairwoman, i think you've said it all. i can remember working very hard with senator kerry of nebraska some years ago, and with senator lugar when we did strengthen and improve crop insurance. we'd taken a pretty big hit. s $14 billion in the last couple farm bills. so what we sought out is not to really plus out but to strengthen and improve crop insurance in that, what you have stated, it's absolutely correct, at our hearings, they said the most important thing in behalf of producers and ag lenders was indeed crop insurance. the only admonition i would say that anyone who wishes to offer an amendment to harm this agreement upon product will be taken to dodge city, kansas, and hung by the neck until they are
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dead. >> there are any amendments to this title? any amendments? if not, we will close this title and thank everyone very, very much. >> madam chair -- >> senator joe lans. >> cou >> -- johanns? >> yes, we can return to nutrition pap modified amendment? >> we do. and it says senator jill brand poi gillibrand pointed out and we're ready to go. >> any other discussion on the amendment as modified? if not, all those in favor say, aye. those opposed nay. theeye theeyee thee ayes have it. one title left and will have a vote at 3:25. there's no reason we can't be done before then. so as we move to -- of course,
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it's a very, very important title for our farmers and ranchers across the country, farmers particularly, title 1. we have worked very, very hard as we have moved to a risk-based system. we have made a number of reforms, and what we have done in cooperation with crop insurance and the new agriculture risk management program to address differences in regions, the dairy program, which is also very important within this program. the dairy production margin protection program and the dairy market stabilization program that you ask regional differences for the first time, including flexibility for each dairy and putting risk management back into the hands of producers. this title really focuses on its growth oriented, sensitive market conditions. we have a number of thing wes all know we've worked on for years within this title
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including the no-cost sugar program we are extending, and as well as what we have talked about before in livestock as it relates to assistance. a permanent livestock disaster assistance program as well. we know we are continuing to work to get the right balance. we feel like we have come a long, long way in the right direction. we will continue to work with members on this very important title and i'm confident that we can come together as we come to the floor. so the commodity title is in front of us. do we have an amendment? senator baucus? >> thank you, madam chairwoman, i'd like to submit its baucus amendment number 8 actually combined buy 12. just -- 12 is just a modifying provision to 8. it's a typo. >> without objection i. think we all agree that it makes sense to put them often together. i'd like to ask consent to
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senators conrad and harkin added as co-sponsor. >> without objection? >> madam chairwoman, i'll be brief. first, to compliment you very much in working with us to try to find and have found the beginning of a solution to the northern plains states including iowa, since senator harkin sponsors this. without getting into too much detail, essentially the mark has been modified by the chairman's mark, further modified by our amendment, and that affect of all this is that we're going to have a loss program based on actual -- or where the -- it's a revenue program requires loss of more than 10% based on past revenue. it's also unlike direct payments, based on actual planning. producer must make a one-time election and as modified, then
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the -- qualifying loss of 65% is applied to the payment. for county, it's up to 80%. maintained a 15% differential which is important to a lot of members of this committee. and i might say that the -- the modified amendment strikes the ten-year straight average and replaces it with a five-year olympic average, and it also, that affect of the modified -- my amendment modifies this is to take out the program which is in for one year, 2012. that's a very brief explanation of the net effect of the mark. the chairman's mark, and my amendment. but that's what it is.
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and i urge your support and thank you all especially madam chairwoman for your help and senator roberts. with all the discussions we've had and staff. i mean -- we don't thank our staff enough. i mean, sitting behind me is alexis taylor. alexis works very hard. that's an understatement. and she's such a trooper. although she's not a montana -- [ laughter ] she's a -- she's -- [ laughter ] she's an iowa farmer. >> a real one. >> and a real farmer. >> yeah. >> and she's also an iraq vet. she served in iraq. this lady is smart and she's tough and she's dedicated to the service, and -- didn't get any sleep until 5:30 this morning,
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turned to her, and says, when are you getting some sleep, alex alexis? she's really responsible for putting this together as much as anybody, and she says, sir, when it's all finished. when it's over. and just want to thank you, alexis, for all that you've dunchts thank very much for turning to senator roberts also i want to say we have a whole group of sleepy people behind us, very involved in that and i want to thank chris the director of our staff and jonathan, but the person who gets the gold star in all this is joe schultz. where's joe? who's worked so hard, scoured every single part of this bill to be able to find resources to come together to be able to do what we need to do. so senator roberts and senator conrad? >> well, let me just say that i really like going back to the simplicity of using the five-year olympic average price for both the individual and the county level. i am very encouraged. i think that this amendment will
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allow payment rates from both the individual and the county coverage, i do also appreciate the chance to work with you, senator baucus, and conrad, and senator hoven as well who played a very important role. ike and joel and tara have been nominated for bronze stars. the purple heart. >> that's right. >> and i thank think jonathan and jill, silver stars. i guess that's just the minority, i don't know. what the senator inkaindicate t montana. these people have been going days, weeks in a row with very little sleep and with many changes we've made, because members make changes, and many times they are necessary, and sometimes they are not. but they stayed with it, and they have worked overtime to a
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degree that has been amazing. i don't think many members really understand in trying to get back and forth to other members and keep people posted. i know there's been a lot of concern raised here about the lack of information or the lack of a score or the lack of language. that's always the case with any bill that you deal with. the problem, really, stems from the fact that our staff and your staff would reach out to our respective member, and their staff would work terribly hard to inform their member. that's a hard thing to do. it's a hard thing to even find that member. let alone talk to the member and let them understand a detailed amendment that deals with the agriculture program policy, and they have done that and that's why this is going as well as it's going and i thank all members of the staff. more especially the people that i mentioned and thank you, senator baucus. >> senator conrad? >> i, too, want to thank --
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first of all i want to thank senator baucus for the critical role he played in this. and senator hoven. my league. we really did function as a team, and it mattered a lot to our part of the country. it mattered a lot. so we appreciate, madam chair, your willingness to listen, and your willingness to respond. and to the ranking member as well, and certainly to your staffs. i'd be remiss after all of these years not thanking jim miller, who's played such a key role in these farm bills, and went to usda and was the number three person there, and i convinced him to come back to help us with this farm bill. i think all of us have benefited by his institutional memory and knowledge. jim miller is really an exceptional person in every way. and tara, my legislative
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director, here very late as well worki ining with your staff andh appreciate the economists staying, and getting resolutions so that this morning instead of my coming to work and being really grumpy, we could have smiles on our faces. >> thank you very much. any other comments? yes, senator hoven? >> thank you, madam chairman. i want to express my appreciation to senator conrad, senator baucus, for theirs work on this amendment. i was pleased to join with them on it. i think it's very important that we have a farm level option and that it's a fair farm level option. and that's what we provide here, is that the producer can select the kind of level option, or the farm level option, and is treated fairly in either case. that was vitally important. certainly on our part of the country, but i think to have that option there for all producers is -- it is truly,
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truly responsive to their needs and ensures that you know in a year where they have a loss, then they have help. and in a year where they don't, then they don't need help and so they don't have help. so i think it was, it's well structured. it's very important to providing the kind of farm bill that we want with the kind of safety net and protection, and help for our producers that we want. so, again, i thank them and i also thank both you and the ranking member. again, for your lep ahelp and st with it. >> thanks. any other comments. >> i support this effort of the baucus amendment, appreciate their working on this to find a solution that would move this forward. some of us preferred the original language, but were prepared to work with this on
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and move forward. it's a resolution that makes sense, simplification is always desirable, and so i want to thank those who have worked so hard to achieve this, and to thank, once again, madam chair and ranking member roberts, for your willingness to permit some time to go by in order to achieve this outcome. it was important to get it, and we've gotten it. and now let's move forward. thank you. >> thank you very much. any other comments on the amendment? >> madam chair, i very much support the amendment and am glad that they've got their needs worked out. as senator hoven said, fairness is important, and i think that the result of the bill as we have now is that we've picked winners and losers, and again,
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i've been very supportive of getting people the things that they needed done, but we go a long way to satisfy all of the commodity needs. so i think that the reality of that is, it's going to make it more difficult as we go on the floor. i think it's going to make it much more difficult as we deal with the house, and as i've said earlier, all along, the most important thing is that we need to get a farm bill done. so, again, i hope we can work as we go forward so that the end of the day, that we have all of the commodity prices where they really are dealt with fairly, and have what they need to go forward with. >> thank you. let me just say that we know there's more work to do, to work with you, and let me also say that we certainly by proceeding with the stacks program and with some other areas we have made steps. we've made steps. not as far as we need to, and
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we're going to continue to work with you, but we have done a number of things to try to address issues and i think the toughest part of the particular, you know, title that we're working with, and we pledge to continue to work with you. any other comments on the amendment? if not, all those in favor say aye? oh, yes. senator? >> this may be the appropriate point, if i may, to be associated with the senator from arkansas, with his remarks. i still think we have some work to do before we develop a consensus in the committee to move forward with language that would toomt a new -- amount to a new farm support bill that can be approved by a majority of the members of this committee, and maybe the voters here to approve it now, but on the floor of the senate, i think we're going to
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have to take advantage of opportunities to offer amendments that may have a chance of strengthening the bill particularly as it relates to southern interests. specifically cotton, rice and peanuts i think deserve more of a break than they're getting in this bill as it goes forward in this committee. and i regret that it does, and i hope that we'll have an opportunity to confer with specific changes, and i will await the opportunity to do that. but in the meantime, i can't support the bill. >> i appreciate that. i do want to just indicate, though, because we have worked very, very hard on a number of things. i know there's more to do, but we do have the sacks program for cotton here. we do have, within the new agriculture risk coverage program, a specific reference points, prices for rice and
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peanuts. and we have put in place new crop insurance options. we know that near not fully developed. that's one of the challenges is that we have some crops where crop insurance is not fully developed in a way that is most effective which is part of the challenge, i think, and the transition. but i do want to just say for the record that there have been a number of steps made. and we will continue to work with you because we realize that we're not there yet. so thank you very much. any other comments regarding the amendment? if not, all those in favor say aye. those opposed, nay. the amendment is adopted. and we will proceed -- is there another amendment? senator chambliss. >> i've actually got several amendments, but i think in lieu of offering the amendments, if i could just comment on them, it
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could save us from voting on them. >> yes. >> and then we can move on. i've made several comments today about the fact that peanuts were not treated fairly, that rice was not treated fairly, and they've been very eloquent in talking about that also. one of my amendments deals with the issue of payment limits. as i understand it, under the limit at $50,000, we've had -- our experts, our economists at the university of georgia look at this. and with the change that's being made the way the mark is written with respect to peanuts, i doubt they'll ever be a peanut farmer that's going to qualify up to the level of $50,000, even. peanuts are a high-cost commodi commodity, and they produce relative to other crops.
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capital requirements to produce the crop in terms of machinery. you have to have a special digger to dig them and a harvester to harvest them unlike what you can do with changing hides on soybeans and corn. we've experienced wide swings in crop prices because we're not a traded commodity. and we've had wide swings in crop prices which can lead to large payments during low commodity price years under the current program. and given the concentration of buyers of peanuts and the semi-perishablity of peanuts where we don't have the ability to store peanuts on the farm as do corn and wheat. they are a perishable crop. they can be stored for a period of time, but they have to be stored in cold storage units. all of these issues come into play with respect to the issue of payment limits, also with
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respect to the issue of why this particular provision and the mark with respect to peanuts does not work. we've had a movement away from peanuts and towards corn and soybeans in the last couple of years for an obvious reason. and that's the high price of corn and soybeans. that means that this year where we're looking at a 25% increase in the potential planning, the planning intentions for peanuts in georgia alone plus south carolina, mississippi are going to expand there, planting of peanuts this year. you're going to see a switch back. and my point is that there is always this up-and-down cyclical nature from the growing of peanuts that's different from other crops. the national center for peanut
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competitiveness keeps a record of a number of farms that stretch all the way from new mexico to virginia. they've done an exhaustive study of the provision in title one. they've found that none of the represented peanut farms would be helped with the current proposal that's in the mark. and further, the proposed program didn't provide any safety net to any of those representative farms. and they track them every year under the current program. so we asked them, said, okay, well, what is it going to take to provide that safety net? and the one consensus that the economists at the university of georgia as well as the national competitiveness center came up with was to have price protection versus revenue protection. and the price protection that we have now with the countercyclical program, works,
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our proposal that we ask the chair and the ranking member to look at and that we could support is slightly different from the current countercyclical but not by much, but that does work. and when you have a commodity that is not traded, it makes a huge difference. so i'm a little bit of a red herring from the standpoint of nobody else basically grows peanuts outside of the southeast. and as we move towards the mark on the floor, i hope that the issue of rice and peanuts will be given greater consideration. rice has some of the similar issues that we have. for example, it's hard to drown out rice because it grows in water. and therefore, crop insurance with rice works in an entirely different way from the way it works on insuring corn or even cotton and peanuts, for that
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matter. we have a huge issue with respect to irrigated and nonirrigated peanuts. senator cochran and i -- conrad and i talked about this yesterday, that somehow there seems to be a fungiblity of our crops under the crop insurance program that means it doesn't always work just right. and we need to avoid that. we don't need to present that opportunity. so i would just say to the chair that i appreciate the consideration that you've given us. you have had an open dialogue with us with respect to rice and to peanuts. and maybe as we go towards getting to the floor, we can still come up with something. because i think i know what the house is going to do. if they take a bill at all, it's going to be more in the direction of what we have proposed to the chair and the ranking member with respect to both peanuts and to rice. and with that being said, madam
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chair, i won't offer these amendments, but it is a serious issue where if we enacted the current proposal on both peanuts and rice, those two crops are going to take a huge hit in the years that we need to have a safety net. there just simply is no safety net for either one of them. thank you. >> well, thank you very much for those comments and absolutely look forward to working with you as we go to the floor. we should get our staffs together, look at the studies that you have been citing, and we'll continue to work. so thank you very much. senator brown. >> thank you. before we conclude, i'd like to ask for a brief amendment to revisit the rural development title for one amendment. >> without objection? we would reopen rural development for one amendment. proceed. >> thank you, madam chair. i have a substitute to my
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original amendment number 8 i'd like to put before the committee that we'll hand out. it's pretty simple, but it's not insignificant. our -- my understanding is that originally last night the score was about $1 billion savings -- $1 billion extra unaccounted for above the $23 billion cuts, say, that we know we had to do in this committee. my amendment simply, i'd like to suggest that any funding saved above that $23 billion target be directed to rural development. and i would just briefly like to go over what that means. and we think it's in the vicinity of $150 million. and again, it's only authorizing, of course, because that's what this committee does. but, you know, the farm bill, we all, i think, back home say the farm bill, it's an agriculture bill, it's a farm bill, it's a nutrition bill. it's the conservation bill. and it's a rural and energy bill, and it's a rural development bill. we never do enough for rural development. my statech

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